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Fivetigers33
04-03-2014, 06:03 PM
I'm a returning player from a few years off and I'm thinking of making a favored soul but have a few questions.

1. Is it better to try to get a Race that has synnergy with the Favored Soul weapon bonuses (for example Warforged/Lord of Blades for greatsword, Drow/Vulkoor for shortsword, or Elf for longsword/rapier), or in the long run will I most likely end up using a weapon that isn't going to get me any race/class bonus?

2. Do Maximize Spell and Empower Spell stack? If not, should I just get 1 of them?

3. Is it feasible to force TWF into a FvS build, or should I just not go there?

4. Will my caster level continute to rise after lvl 20, or do most primary casters only do 20 levels in 1 class and then multiclass the other 6 levels? The max level was 20 when I stopped playing, so I have no idea how the higher levels work.

Thanks.

unbongwah
04-04-2014, 10:31 AM
It depends on what you're trying to accomplish with your build. E.g., look at the 2nd build in my Tempest Warpriest thread (HE FvS 12 / rgr 6 / monk 2), which is designed to be a pretty self-sufficient TWF+Manyshot build which takes advantage of Warpriest & AoV bonuses using scimitars. [Thankfully, the addition of Thunder-forged (http://ddowiki.com/page/Thunder_Forge) weapons means scimitars are finally viable in endgame again; pre-U21, there just weren't any epic scimitars as good as the CitW (http://ddowiki.com/page/Caught_in_the_web) weapons.] Somewhere I've got a drow FvS 12 / monk 6 / pal 2 build; that one gives up ranged DPS in order to be centered w/short swords which allows me to take advantage of various monk perks. I've also been meaning to post a BF FvS 18 / pal 2 which revisits the old Soul Survivor (melee DPS + raid healer) built to use greatswords.
Yes, they both stack, although if you can only afford one, Maximize is more SP-efficient.
Again, it depends on what you're trying to accomplish and what you have to work with. If you're attempting to make a first-life Evoker, I'd say no; the stat pts & feats invested into melee DPS waters down your caster DPS too much. OTOH, if you wanted a melee / healer hybrid, it works great, b/c really all you need to be a good healer is Quicken + Emp Heal + Devotion gear, leaving plenty of room to invest in melee; and Ameliorating Strike from Warpriest is a great free AoE heal to cut down on your SP costs.
Epic levels (http://ddowiki.com/page/Epic_levels) are classless; everyone gets the same generic bonuses (BAB, extra feats, etc.). Two main things boost your caster levels apart from extra FvS lvls: PrE enhancements like Intense Faith ("Your Fire, Force, Light, and Physical damage spells are cast at +1/+2/+3 caster level") and the Divine EDs (http://ddowiki.com/page/Epic_Destinies) (+1 CL from innate ranks). If you use spells which have a max caster lvl (e.g., Blade Barrier caps at CL:15), you always want to invest in boosting your max caster lvl with, e.g., Zealous Faith ("The maximum caster level of your Fire, Force, Light, and Physical damage spells are increased by 1/2/3").

Baahb3
04-04-2014, 11:32 AM
I thoroughly enjoy my TWF Battle Soul as I call her. She is an Elf so qualifying for GTWF (Dex 17) was not such a big stat hit. If you have the funds or a 6 Year Birthday cake stashed away you can get yourself a +2 Dex tome to help that out as well.

A while back they added the Valenar Elves enhancements which get bonuses with Scimitars which makes for a good synergy with the Undying Court Faith enhancements.

I play her more as a self-buffing-healing Melee that can be a healer in most content with a few gear swaps or a backup healer in some easier raids.

To get all the feats I wanted (and because I did not like the capstone) I went 18 FvS/2 Monk. I don’t get to be centered but the 2 monk levels still gives me 2 feats, 3 to all my saves and evasion.

I started with 16, 16, 14, 8, 8, 14 for my stats on her. I don’t use any DC based spells on enemies so I felt the Wis hit was worth it for me.

For feats I have TWF, ITWF, GTWF, Maximize, Quicken, Empower Healing, Power Attack, Extend Spell, and I forget the last one but I think it is a Toughness (have not swapped it out since I came back to the new enhancement system).

Fivetigers33
04-04-2014, 01:02 PM
Is Quicken Spell really that important?

Atremus
04-04-2014, 01:06 PM
Quicken will be needed, yes.

Baahb3
04-04-2014, 01:16 PM
Quicken does two things, it makes Mass Heal usable since it is normally such a long cast time and two, it stops you from getting interrupted while casting. Since you will be in the thick of things fighting it is imperative that you get your spells off when you need them and concentration checks are just not reliable. Quicken takes care of this worry.

Fivetigers33
04-04-2014, 01:38 PM
So if I have Quicken Spell active, I don't need to put any points into Concentration?

Also, if I don't have enough feats for both Empower Healing and plain Empower, which should I take? (I'm already taking Maximize)

Edit: I'd like to be able to use my magic both offensively and defensively.

Edit 2: Trying to figure out another feat for a TWF FvS20. Not sure if I should go Power Attack or Improved Critical, can't afford both.

unbongwah
04-04-2014, 02:36 PM
So if I have Quicken Spell active, I don't need to put any points into Concentration?
Well, yes & no: while Quicken is active, you don't need to make a Concentration check; but you still need to make a Concentration check if you're using scrolls. Also, there are lots of times where Quicken is unnecessary if you've got a high enough Concentration, in which case you can leave if off & save SPs.

Also, if I don't have enough feats for both Empower Healing and plain Empower, which should I take? (I'm already taking Maximize)
Depends on your goals. If you want to be a "real" healer, I recommend Emp Heal, as it's the only metamagic which boosts Heal & Mass Heal; and it's fewer SPs than Emp on Cure spells. If you're focused on caster DPS, I'd go with Emp, but use it sparingly, like for boss fights & stuff; it's usually not worth the SPs to keep it on constantly.

Edit: I'd like to be able to use my magic both offensively and defensively.
Offensive magic requires focusing on spell DCs and possibly Spell Penetration, depending on which spells you plan to use.

Edit 2: Trying to figure out another feat for a TWF FvS20. Not sure if I should go Power Attack or Improved Critical, can't afford both.
If you absolutely positively can only have one, it should be Power Atk, as there are plenty of weapons with the Keen property. But many of the best named weapons aren't keen, so it's best if you have both if you're focusing on melee.

It's a good idea to post your build before making it so you can get feedback on what works & what doesn't.

Fivetigers33
04-04-2014, 02:58 PM
It's still a work in progress but here's what I'm leaning towards.

Drow Favored Soul 20 (doing this from memory so they might not add up correctly, was toying with starting stats last night)
STR 14
DEX 16
CON 12
INT 10
WIS 16
CHA 10

Feats (not in the correct order yet, just a sum of what I need)
1. two weapon fighting
2. improved two weapon fighting
3. greater two weapon fighting
4. Maximize
5. Extend
6. Quicken
7. ???
E1. ???
E2. ???
E3. Haste or DR (not sure, but leaning towards one of these two)

So I have 3 feats to play with. Feats I am considering are:

Empower Spell
Empower Healing
Power Attack
Improved Critical
Oversized Two Weapon Fighting (if I decide to go Elf instead of Drow and use longswords or scimitars, short swords just seem to make more sense since I have limited feats)

Cardtrick
04-04-2014, 03:17 PM
Feats (not in the correct order yet, just a sum of what I need)
1. two weapon fighting
2. improved two weapon fighting
3. greater two weapon fighting
4. Maximize
5. Extend
6. Quicken
7. ???
E1. ???
E2. ???
E3. Haste or DR (not sure, but leaning towards one of these two)

So I have 3 feats to play with. Feats I am considering are:

Empower Spell
Empower Healing
Power Attack
Improved Critical
Oversized Two Weapon Fighting (if I decide to go Elf instead of Drow and use longswords or scimitars, short swords just seem to make more sense since I have limited feats)

If you intend to be primarily melee, Improved Critical is basically mandatory (unless you are going with rapiers and already have two Balizardes and plan to use nothing else, but that would negate your Righteous Weapons). If you intend to heal groups/raids, Empower Healing is highly, highly recommended. It's the only metamagic that improves Heal, Mass Heal, and Cocoon.

You should definitely drop Extend. It's really, really, really not essential. It's mostly just a convenience, and you can't spare the feat.

How set are you on staying pure? This seems like a build that would benefit enormously from 2 monk levels. Both feats would be extremely useful to you, and the favored soul capstone is really only good if you're going AoV and getting one of the actually useful SLAs (which drow with Vulkoor definitely do not).

Fivetigers33
04-04-2014, 03:34 PM
I guess my goal for this character is to be able to solo most stuff and then heal on raids.

For staying pure I was thinking more Sp = more heals = more HP = more winning, and that geting 10 damage reduction at lvl 20 sounds pretty useful too. Plus I'll miss out on some lvl 8-9 spells if I multiclass.

If I only do 2 levels of monk, will I be able to have short swords count as centered weapons? If I do 2 levels of monk, wont I want to pump dex for better ac while wearing robes? And probably also take Weapon Finesse? How will my AC with a splash of monk compare to my full plate Favored Soul AC?

I'm open to suggestions though. Still haven't made the character. Still not even 100% set on short swords (longswords for more damage or scimitars for crits are constantly going through my mind). I'm kind of indecisive :-).

Edit: What are SLAs?

Cardtrick
04-04-2014, 04:01 PM
For staying pure I was thinking more Sp = more heals = more HP = more winning, and that geting 10 damage reduction at lvl 20 sounds pretty useful too. Plus I'll miss out on some lvl 8-9 spells if I multiclass.

10 damage reduction is sort of nice, but it's not nearly as big of a deal as it sounds like. I've played pure melee favored souls, and I've played splashes, and I've never really missed the DR. It would be a huge deal at level 10. At 20, or higher, it's barely worth considering. (Especially since you're going to get 5 DR from Warpriest anyway.)

Also, the only 9th level spell that's really important is Heal Mass, which you can still get at level 18.


If I only do 2 levels of monk, will I be able to have short swords count as centered weapons?

Yes, although that's not a big deal. You could even choose not to stay centered if you wanted to. (But it's only 1 AP point to take the first Ninja Spy core so you might as well do it.)

The main benefits of the 2 monk splash are the 2 free feats (power attack and two weapon fighting) and evasion when wearing no or light armor. Those benefits work even if you're not centered. There are also some really useful enhancements that work even if you're not centered -- the 1st core of Shintao is great for 5% healing amp, there are dodge boosts in Ninja Spy, the 1st core of Henshin will boost your fire and force spellpower and crit chance, etc.

If you do choose to stay centered, there's a bunch more good stuff available -- the various stance bonuses (you could potentially even taken adept and master stances with your epic feats), a tier 1 Shintao ability for +10% offhand weapon strike, the Fists of Iron strike available in either tree, etc.

But the core benefits do not require being centered.


If I do 2 levels of monk, wont I want to pump dex for better ac while wearing robes? And probably also take Weapon Finesse?

No. Strength-based is still going to be better for damage, especially since you'll be running Divine Might all the time (which adds to your strength). AC is really, really hard to get to a useful level regardless, and I usually don't even try. On a TWF build like this, without a shield or the defender stances, it's going to be virtually impossible. But even if you do try, it's easier to get good AC on a monk splash than a favored soul, due to the fact that you can wear an "armor" item like bracers or a robe and still add both dexterity and wisdom modifiers to your AC.

There's no need to build for more dexterity than you need to hit the minimum requirements for all the feats you want. Gear will take care of the rest.

(Note: All of that is from more of an endgame perspective -- AC is totally viable and useful in the first 10 or 12 levels, and I even wear protection items and use natural armor potions on wizards and sorcerers at low levels.)



Still not even 100% set on short swords (longswords for more damage or scimitars for crits are constantly going through my mind). I'm kind of indecisive :-).

Scimitars are worth considering, but the very slight extra base damage on standard longswords vs standard shortswords is negligible, especially since named items will have different damage profiles anyway. The only reason I would think about longswords is that you could go human and still have them be a favored weapon, which would open a free feat.


***


Basically, I think you have to sacrifice too much to play a pure melee/casting hybrid TWF favored soul. You can stay pure and do a melee/casting hybrid if you want to go THF, since the feats are just nice to have, rather than essential. But the two free feats you get from splashing 2 monk or 2 fighter are more important than what you get by staying pure, if you're trying to go for TWF.

Fivetigers33
04-04-2014, 04:20 PM
You say that 10 DR isn't a big deal at level 20 and you also so that AC will be too low at lvl 20+. So it sounds like no matter what, I'm giong to be taking damage. mitigating it and avoiding it are not viable options? Does that 10 DR stack with the 5 from Warpriest?

What do people do for endgame defenses?

I've never been past level 14ish and haven't played in several years.

Cardtrick
04-04-2014, 04:36 PM
You say that 10 DR isn't a big deal at level 20 and you also so that AC will be too low at lvl 20+. So it sounds like no matter what, I'm giong to be taking damage. mitigating it and avoiding it are not viable options? Does that 10 DR stack with the 5 from Warpriest?

What do people do for endgame defenses?


No, they don't stack -- if you stay pure, you waste the 5 from warpriest.

It is possible to mitigate and avoid damage. In fact, it's become easier than it used to be in a lot of ways. but now it's less about AC, and more about combining a bunch of different things for a layered defense -- PRR (Physical Resistance Rating) (http://ddowiki.com/page/PRR), Dodge (http://ddowiki.com/page/Dodge_bonus), Concealment (http://ddowiki.com/page/Concealment), Incorporeality (http://ddowiki.com/page/Incorporeal), AC, and DR.

The issue is that DR is a flat amount. To a somewhat lesser extent, so is AC -- although the formulas have gotten so complicated that no one really understands them. The other forms of defense are percentage based, which means they scale much better in epics. The difference between 5 DR and 10 DR doesn't matter much when an enemy hits for 300 points of damage.

But if you've got 50 PRR, you reduce about 25% of incoming physical damage -- whether that means 25% of a 30 point hit or 25% of a 300 point hit. It is just as effective at high levels as it is at low levels. And then things like Concealment (Warpriests get Blur now and you can make Displacement clickies in Shroud), Incoporeality (10% from Ghostly is commonly available on epic items), and Dodge (check the wiki, since this is complicated, but going monk definitely helps) give you a chance to completely avoid being hit at all, which obviously scales perfectly in epics.

AC is not at all useless. That gets overstated on the forums sometimes. But it has a threshold you have to hit before it is useful. If your AC isn't high enough to cause the enemy ever to miss, then it doesn't matter how whether you have 0 points or 10. (Sort of -- that's actually how it used to be, and as I mentioned, the formulas are now really complicated, but it's still more or less like that.) If you don't build and gear for extremely high AC, it's generally best not to bother with it at all, and instead just to focus on the elements you can more easily improve.

Fivetigers33
04-04-2014, 05:18 PM
Ok, I see a lot has changed over the years.

I agree that splashing 2 monk will definitlely make the character better at melee. However, how does the overall effectiveness of the character compare to that of a pure Favored Soul? Compare these two based on overall effectiveness, offense, and survivability. Assume they have the exact same gear on.

FvS18/Monk2 - Drow, shortswords
TWF, ITWF, GTWF, Maximize, Quicken, Empower, Empower Healing, Improved Crit, Power Attack, Blinding Speed, Extend Spell & (Toughness, could switch out toughness)

vs.

FvS20 - Drow, shortswords
TWF, ITWF, GTWF, Maximize, Quicken, Empower, Empower Healing, Improved Crit, Power Attack, Blinding Speed
Bonus spells: 1 extra lvl 8 spell, 2 extra lvl 9 spells (I have no clue which ones are effective and which arent, Implosion and Summon Monster IX sound cool, Firestorm or Inflict Critical Wounds Mass???) No clue on spells, but more sounds better.

Cardtrick
04-04-2014, 05:39 PM
FvS18/Monk2 - Drow, shortswords
TWF, ITWF, GTWF, Maximize, Quicken, Empower, Empower Healing, Improved Crit, Power Attack, Blinding Speed, Extend Spell & (Toughness, could switch out toughness)

vs.

FvS20 - Drow, shortswords
TWF, ITWF, GTWF, Maximize, Quicken, Empower, Empower Healing, Improved Crit, Power Attack, Blinding Speed
Bonus spells: 1 extra lvl 8 spell, 2 extra lvl 9 spells (I have no clue which ones are effective and which arent, Implosion and Summon Monster IX sound cool, Firestorm or Inflict Critical Wounds Mass???) No clue on spells, but more sounds better.

It's tough to say. It depends on what you want to play and whether you want to go more melee or more casting. Either way, the necessity to go with relatively high dexterity and strength for TWF meleeing means that you're unlikely to have a high wisdom. And you won't have the free feats to invest in Spell Focus and Spell Penetration. So it's probably not worth casting any spells that have a save. That means no implosion. I've always felt that if you're not going max wisdom, the only 9th level divine spell that really matters is Heal Mass. And these days, you can even live without that, although I would suggest anyone new to divine casters should have it. Healing a raid on a favored soul without mass heal is very possible, but it requires more careful play and higher investment in positive spellpower, which probably means gear you won't have yet.

I can tell you that I personally would much prefer playing the first build. Although I would drop Empower and Toughness.

My heroic feats would be Power Attack and TWF (monk bonus feats), Maximize/Quicken/Empower Healing (the most important healing/casting metamagcis), iTWF/gTWF/Cleave/Improved Critical (key melee feats and prereqs for Overwhelming Critical). My first epic feat at level 21 would be Great Cleave. My epic feat at level 24 would be Overwhelming Critical (huge melee DPS boost). The epic feat at level 27 would probably be Blinding Speed, but you could take Empower there if you really wanted. Epic Destiny feats at 26 and 28 would be Perfect Two Weapon Fighting and an Epic Spellpower (either Positive or Light).

I generally feel like Empower is too expensive for what it does, except on SLAs (it's free on SLAs). But drow Vulkoor favored souls don't get any Empower-able SLAs in the heroic levels. You might want to take it in epics, depending on what epic destiny you're running in -- Exalted Angel, for example, offers a couple of light damage SLAs that benefit from Empower.

I would only want to go pure if I was trying for a max-Wisdom DC caster -- which you just can't combine with a TWF melee.

Hopefully at some point someone else will chip in with a different opinion so you can get a variety of perspectives.

Fivetigers33
04-04-2014, 05:51 PM
I am starting with 16 wisdom. Even if I started with 18 WIS and put all 6 of my increases in stats into wisdom, that would only net me 24 base wisdom, which would be +4 to the DC of my spells.

Is that difference of 4 really what determines if my spells are going to be landing on monsters in endgame content?

Fhauvial
04-04-2014, 10:19 PM
I am starting with 16 wisdom. Even if I started with 18 WIS and put all 6 of my increases in stats into wisdom, that would only net me 24 base wisdom, which would be +4 to the DC of my spells.

Is that difference of 4 really what determines if my spells are going to be landing on monsters in endgame content?

The short version is yes. If you want spells like Implosion to land in end-game, you have to build specifically for them. It's not going to happen on a melee build, unfortunately. It typically means at least 3 Spell Focus feats, Spell Pen (although less important now, Drow SR isn't the major pain it used to be), primary casting stat from all enhancement/destiny trees, etc. It's not uncommon to spend two feats on Great Wisdom for an extra +1 to DCs.

This of course depends on the content you're going to run, and the difficulty, but the general rule is if you don't build for DC casting, don't bother.

EllisDee37
04-04-2014, 10:29 PM
Is that difference of 4 really what determines if my spells are going to be landing on monsters in endgame content?No, because no matter what you do, on a first life favored soul without extremely hard-to-get gear, your spells won't land in endgame content regardless.

DC casting in endgame is all or nothing. As in, if you don't have a litany of the dead from the necropolis raid, completionist, all the best DC & wisdom gear, and your destinies maxed out, your spells will fail most of the time. (They'll fail all the time if you you're targeting drow, who will simply ignore your spells thanks to their spell resistance.)

But then again, "endgame" means "high level epic elites." It's quite possible to land spells in epic hard if you want to build for DCs without too much effort.

That said, if you want to DC cast you can't really melee, and if you want to melee you can't really cast DC-based spells.

Cardtrick
04-04-2014, 11:44 PM
My heroic feats would be Power Attack and TWF (monk bonus feats), Maximize/Quicken/Empower Healing (the most important healing/casting metamagcis), iTWF/gTWF/Cleave/Improved Critical (key melee feats and prereqs for Overwhelming Critical). My first epic feat at level 21 would be Great Cleave. My epic feat at level 24 would be Overwhelming Critical (huge melee DPS boost). The epic feat at level 27 would probably be Blinding Speed, but you could take Empower there if you really wanted. Epic Destiny feats at 26 and 28 would be Perfect Two Weapon Fighting and an Epic Spellpower (either Positive or Light).

Disregard my suggestion for Blinding Speed at level 27 for the melee build. I just played my favored soul a bit. I keep forgetting that with 18 favored soul levels and the 5th core in the warpriest tree, you can self-cast Haste, making Blinding Speed completely unnecessary. Good choices would be Empower, Epic Reflexes, or maybe Ruin.

Fivetigers33
04-04-2014, 11:53 PM
If I don't specifically build to land DC spells, will I have any offensive spell options? Is summon monster IX useful at all? I really don't have experience with casters.

Cardtrick
04-05-2014, 12:07 AM
If I don't specifically build to land DC spells, will I have any offensive spell options? Is summon monster IX useful at all? I really don't have experience with casters.

Yes -- there are basically two ways to build offensive casters in DDO. There are nukers and there are DC casters. (It is sort of possible for the same character to be both, but most will specialize.) To be a nuker is all about maximizing your spellpower and critical chance in the relevant spell type and casting direct damage spells that either have no save or that still do good damage if the enemy does save. Sorcerer savants are the classic elemental nukers, but favored souls can make very good light nukers. The basic idea is to boost your light spellpower with a combination of gear, enhancements, and epic destiny abilities, and then cast light spells and SLAs (most of which have no save). To be a DC caster is much harder, especially on a first life character, and especially on a character that's also trying to do something else (melee and heal in your case). This is because there are thresholds with DCs. In endgame content, if your DC is less than some number (60ish?) then it doesn't mean that you are less effective with your spells -- it means that enemies literally always save and your spells do nothing. That's oversimplifying things, since you can target weak saves and cast debuffs, but it's broadly true.

If you don't absolutely sell out and go completely for DCs -- never taking any ability or using any equipment that would mean even a loss of a single point from your primary casting stat -- then it becomes extremely difficult to be effective as a DC caster.

The better option on a hybrid build like this is to mostly dump wisdom and forget about DCs. Instead, pump up your charisma for extra spellpoints and then focus your enhancements and gear on boosting light spell power and crit chance (radiance and radiance lore) and force spell power and crit chance (impulse and kinetic lore). Force is really only useful for blade barrier, which does have a save -- but blade barrier is still really useful even when enemies save for half damage. My melee favored soul/paladin still uses blade barrier sometimes in epics, and used it constantly in heroics. The single most important light spell early on will be Divine Punishment, which is a stacking single target DOT. It's great for bosses, and it's great for hybrid favored souls as well, since you only have to cast it once every 12 seconds or so to keep the stacks running -- you can melee or heal in the meantime. There are various other light spells, but a lot of them are pretty expensive. If you decide to focus more on light nuking, though, you can really go nuts with it in epics with the Exalted Angel epic destiny -- here are two pure light nuking favored soul builds that I like a lot:

Ghostriker (https://www.ddo.com/forums/showthread.php/435732-Ghostriker-s-build)

Nova Soul (https://www.ddo.com/forums/showthread.php/422628-U19-Nova-Soul-Direct-Damage-FVS)

Note that both of these splash heavily and lose a lot of favored soul abilitiies in favor of extra survivability in epic elite content. You don't need to do that -- but looking at how they use their enhancements and epic abilities can give you a sense of what's possible.

Also, side note -- you'll want to at least have a radiance weapon as a swap item if only for casting your archon, even if you mostly decide not to go the light nuking route. The archon's power depends on your light spellpower at the time you cast it, so you can lock it in for five minutes.

Oh, and no -- the summon monster is terrible. It does very little damage and can't be directly controlled, so it mostly just gets in the way. The only summon spell I ever use is Summon Monster IV for the lantern archon, because it can be useful to light up dark areas -- but on a favored soul, that's not necessary, since you get your own much more effective archon from Angel of Vengeance.